Monday, March 25, 2019

Heat Gun Blown Alcohol Ink

The current trend for alcohol ink is to use a low power hair dryer or heat gun to gently blow the ink around on yupo or ceramic tiles to create fluid art. I have been meaning to try it out for ages, but I wasn't sure what would work best or how the ink would behave under the high heat (but I've set alcohol ink on fire with success, so I didn't have much too lose).

So I decided to throw caution to the wind and try it out. I set protected my table and picked out a few colors of alcohol ink that would mix to create attractive colors and thinning solution (pictured above is Pinata Extender).

I decided to try out my hair dryer on low I squeezed some ink onto a ceramic tile and squirted some Extender onto the ink and then hit it with the hair dryer. The effect was similar to canned air. It blew the ink violently and created little tendrils. It also is much less targeted than the canned air and blew my ink bottles and pipettes across the table. As I was frantically going after them, I managed to spill my extender all over the table.

So, I had to take a break to clean up my table. The Extender was sticky and left a white residue on the craft mats. Needless to say, I switched to 91% rubbing alcohol and a cheap heat gun after the spill. The ink billowed and moved and mixed more slowly across the tile. That's what I was looking for!

I continued squeezing blue and green ink on my tile and thinning it with rubbing alcohol and blowing it around gently with the heat gun until the tile was covered. 

Then I decided to add some gold ink across the center of the tile. The metallic ink doesn't spread as much, so I repeated with gold ink and rubbing alcohol and then some of the green ink over top until I liked the way it looked.

After I was satisfied with the blue and green tile, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Even after the extender mishap, the tile turned out pretty, and I figured I could step up my game with some more interesting colors.

For the second tile, I opted for two shades of purple and a peach shade called Salmon. The darker shade of purple (Eggplant), was tricky to work with. It turned brown and black when mixing with the other inks very quickly. The only way I could break up the super dark ink was by adding more ink and rubbing alcohol. I didn't know when I should stop with this one, so it got a bit busy.

I kept adding ink--including more gold--until I thought it had a pretty design that was fairly balanced with the different colors, but the design ended up a bit overdone. I had a lot of fun making it, and I look forward to trying out more colors and refining my air gun techniques and color mixing.

One thing I did notice is that it was the most "alcohol-y" smelling that it's ever been while working with these inks and the heat gun. If you try it out, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Most Popular Posts Collection

I've been sick this week, so instead of a new craft project, I thought I'd throw it back and show you some of my most popular past projects. Check out the full tutorials here: Most Popular Posts Collection

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Cleaning Pennies

I recently received a couple of penny books for collecting pennies. Pennies aren't good for a whole lot else these days, so I dug out my jar of change (there weren't a ton of pennies as we have pretty much stopped paying cash for things these days and spent our change stash on a penny war fundraiser at husband's work a few years back). They were mostly pretty dirty, and I didn't want to put them in the book that way, so I set out to clean and sort my penny stash. I thought some of you might be interested in how I did it.

First I poured the whole jar of pennies into a cereal bowl and covered it with vinegar. Then I added some salt to the top. The pennies changed color instantly. It's awfully satisfying. Since I had them all stacked on top of each other, I knew they wouldn't all be clean, so I swished them around and rinsed them off in clean water. It's important to rinse the pennies because the salt and vinegar will lead to oxidation if left and your pennies will turn even darker than they were before.

After I cleaned the whole batch of pennies with a good rinse, I filled my cereal bowl with just enough vinegar to cover a layer of pennies. I also grabbed a second cereal bowl and filled it with some plain water so I could rinse without having to go to the sink. I put a small handful of pennies into the cereal bowl with vinegar and sprinkled it with table salt again. I swished them around, rinsed them off and then rubbed them dry with a sack cloth dish drying towel (though you may leave dark marks on your towels so pick some of your older dish towels to use).

The newer pennies came clean in the vinegar. The older pennies usually came clean after a bit of scrubbing with the soft towel. The right side of the penny above has been polished and the right side hasn't. I filled my new penny books as I cleaned the pennies. I still have a lot of pennies to find to fill my collection!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Monday, March 4, 2019

Tested Life Hack: DIY Shower Head Cleaner

It's been awhile since I've tested one of those life hack tricks floating around on Pinterest and the Internet. But, I was cleaning my shower and noticed how gross the shower head was getting and I remembered seeing a trick for cleaning shower heads: a plastic bag full of vinegar tied to the shower head. It was an easy enough thing to test out, so what did I have to lose?

I'm sorry about my gross looking shower head. But you needed to see what we were up against. It was not only a bit of hard water, but also some mold and mildew--so it was definitely time to clean it.

I grabbed a gallon Ziploc bag because it's what I had--but any sturdy plastic bag should do the trick. I put about 3/4 of a cup of vinegar in the bag and attached it to the shower head as best as I could. I used a couple of twist ties and some scotch tape to keep it on the shower head and to keep the vinegar covering as much of the shower head as possible.

I checked on my shower head once after it had been hanging for about an hour and the vinegar had started to turn slightly green in color and little flecks of black mildew had started to come off. I put my bag of vinegar on the shower head around lunch time and took it off after supper. It was probably on the shower head for about 8 hours.

When I took the bag off of the shower head, it was already noticeably cleaner. The vinegar did a lot of cleaning on its own. I then turned on the shower head and sprayed a scrub brush (to wet the shower head and the brush).

I gave it a couple of light scrubs and everything came right off! This hack totally works! The shower head was clean with hardly any work. I'll probably try this one again as soon as my shower head starts to get gunked up instead of waiting for it to get so gross. So the final ruling: WORKS!